I saw Solo: A Star Wars Story (Disney, 5.25) earlier this evening at the Salle Debussy. A Han Solo origin story, and I really don’t give a damn about this heavily-milked realm. Same old “a long time ago,” same old dashing heroics, same old quips, same exotic creatures, same high-throttle chase scenes…formula, formula, plop-plop, fizz-fizz
How many years or decades does Disney plan on cranking out the same old sausage? The answer is “forever.” Six years ago
What did I get out of watching this light-hearted, fast-moving but rote-feeling Ron Howard flick, which attempts to reanimate the legend and spirit of Han Solo? HE regulars are sick of me saying that the rakish smuggler and adventurer has been personified by Harrison Ford for the last 42 years, but is now owned and operated by Alden Ehrenreich, whom I regard as “Little Han.”
The answer is “Not much, man…not much at all.”
Seriously, I never felt turned on or lifted up or caught up in the flow of the thing, and I’m saying this as someone who half-enjoyed The Force Awakens, felt mildly engaged by Rogue One and was half-taken by portions of The Last Jedi.
I just can’t respond to this stuff any more. I couldn’t take the plunge. I was muttering to myself “oh, Jesus, c’mon…they’re shovelling and recycling the same crap here, over and over and over.”
I’ve said this seventeen or eighteen times, but Ehrenreich is Han Solo’s shorter wannabe cousin — a guy who’s trying like hell to fill Han’s boots but who lacks fundamental Hannitude. And in this context, he really is part of Short People Nation. Shorter than Woody Harrelson, way shorter than Chewbecaa, not much taller than Emilia Clarke (who looks kind of odd in a chubby-faced way), and always looking up at everyone, like he’s some kid in seventh grade.
Yes, Ehrenreich does a good job of pretending to be a young Han, and if you want to go along with this charade, be my guest. AE gives it everything he has, applying the acting lessons he was given during principal photography, but the effort simply doesn’t work. There’s no escaping the fact that he’s nowhere close to being a chip off the old block.
I felt hugely bored and irritated during the first hour, which is all about adrenalizing the ADD crowd with the usual Star Wars distractions — Han-in-big-trouble, Han-escapes-trouble, Han drives like a bat outta hell, the usual derring-do, high-speed chases, pulse-weapon battles, skin-of-their-teeth escapes…wow, wow, wow, wow…nothing.
Yes, the movie finally shifts into gear with the arrival of Donald Glover‘s Lando Calrissian and the Millenium Falcon, and especially when the Kessel Run smuggle plan kicks in and yaddah-yaddah. But Han doesn’t get behind the controls of the Falcon until the 90-minute mark. And then the film keeps going for another 40 minutes — it should have ended at the two-hour mark already. Plus I honestly lost patience with Woody and Emilia’s characters pulling last-minute, character-shifting switcheroos.
Thandie Newton‘s Val, a member of Harrelson’s crew, has bad hair — a kind of mid-length Afro that resembles the curly-hair cut that Jane Fonda wore in Nine to Five. PhoebeWaller–Bridge voices Lando’s droid companion, a unit called L3-37, and I didn’t give a shit. And to hell with Paul Bettany‘s over-the-top Dryden Vos, a standard grotesque straight out of central casting.
I was just bored with the whole thing. I really was. The Alex Billington and Jeff Sneider-like fanboys who are saying “whoo-hoo, had a great time, it made me happy, a great little popcorn movie” and so on…I don’t know what to say to these guys without insulting them so I won’t say anything, but Solo is flotsam. Just another bells-and-whistles Star Wars hustle — empty corporate entertainment for the whole family.